The Department of Labor today announced $169,771,960 in grants to expedite the employment of Americans struggling with long-term unemployment. The grants are part of the Ready to Work Partnership initiative to support and scale innovative collaborations between employers, nonprofit organizations and federal job training programs to help connect ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.

“There’s no question that individuals struggling with long-term unemployment are better off than they were 12 months ago, but there are still twice as many of them as there were before the recession. The constant struggle to find work has left many of them feeling discouraged and disregarded,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “The federal grants we’re awarding today are part of a series of administration initiatives designed to help encourage, empower and employ this pool of talented individuals.”

These grants are part of an administration-wide effort to address the ongoing issue of long-term unemployment. Secretary Perez and Jeff Zients, director of the National Economic Council, will meet with chief human resource officers of leading companies, including Citigroup Inc., CVS Caremark Corp., The Boeing Co. and Dow Chemical Co., among others, during a roundtable discussion hosted at the White House on Wednesday, Oct. 15, to discuss improvements these companies have made to increase recruitment of and eliminate barriers to hiring long-term unemployed individuals. The Office of Personnel Management will also issue guidance today to federal agencies on increasing recruitment and hiring of long-term unemployed individuals.

Grants, ranging from $3 million to $10 million, were awarded to 23 partnerships to serve individuals in 20 states and Puerto Rico. Three grantees — District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund (Pennsylvania), Memphis Bioworks Foundation (Tennessee) and Worksystems Inc. (Oregon) — will support projects in multiple states.